‘I weep with pride’

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Before rending our garments and saying Kaddish for Gazans who died trying to storm the Israeli border, it might be useful to remember this as the latest manifestation of something Jews have been forced to deal with for  millennia.

For centuries, the numerically superior surrounding populations always had an emotional and high-minded reason for attacking the local Jewish community. For the early church it was “they killed our Lord.” For some medieval men it was “they poisoned the wells”; for others it was “they kill children to make matzah.”

For the Nazis it was “they pollute our race.” Now, for the jihadis, it is “they’re stealing our land.” Every group claimed the Jews were collectively guilty. No individual Jew could claim innocence.

At the Gaza border we see mobs slinging rocks, throwing Molotov cocktails,  burning tires and launching fire kites. They carry meat cleavers and butcher knives. The stated aim of Hamas, which runs their government, is the destruction of the State of Israel. Should, God forbid, they breach the border, we would witness a modern-day pogrom.

But unlike centuries past, when the Cossacks ravaged the unprotected shtetl or the Nazis decimated the defenseless ghetto, Jews are free to arm and protect themselves. The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces do this with precision and restraint. Out of the thousands of Gazans streaming towards the Israeli border, instigators were picked out. Sixty Gazans were felled. Out of that number 52 were Hamas regulars dressed as civilians. That speaks of a highly disciplined defense.

When I see young citizen soldiers of the IDF repulse a mob bent on mayhem and do so without resorting to indiscriminate killing, I, too, weep. But I weep with pride.

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